Alex Due

Archive for September, 2010

RiP!: A Remix Manifesto” is a 2008 documentary film about copyright in music in past, present and future. It tells many interesting stories surrounding the evolution of music as we know it today and the part copyright plays in that process.

The director Brett Gaylor bases his film on four assumptions:

  1. culture always builds on the past
  2. the past always tries to control the future
  3. our future is becoming less free
  4. to build free societies you must limit the control of the past

It starts telling the story of Girl Talk an American musician who creates his music solely by sampling other music. This is against the current copyright laws because he uses copyrighted material of other musicians without permission. So Girl Talk is someone who builds on the past. But Gaylor shows that music was always built on the past. He tracks the traditional folk song “This May Be The Last Time“, recorded by The Staple Singers in 1959, to The Rolling Stones “The Last Time” from 1965, to an instrumental version by Andrew Oldham Orchestra in 1966, to “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve in 1997. The Verve was sued by The Rolling Stones’ publishers and Keith Richards and Mick Jagger took all writing credits.

Lawrence Lessig, a founding board member of the Creative Commons, says that you can’t stop people from using technology to remix culture. You can only criminalize them. He argues that similar to quoting text in an essay one should be allowed to also “quote” film and music to create a new work.

Cory Doctorow, a blogger, journalist and author, who releases his novels under Creative Commons licenses, talks about how business models are changing over time. In the times before radio and record people could only make money from making music by playing it live. The musician had to be charismatic for that to work. With records and radio the need for live performances to earn money from music was gone. From his point of view today large corporations try to save their business models, which are based on selling records. But maybe we reached a point in history where selling records has lost it’s potential to make money. Maybe today the musician has again to perform live to make a living. Why should these companies be allowed to stop these changes from happening? Should the musicians some decades ago have stopped companies from selling records and destroying their business model of live performances?

The film can be watched online in full length (1:26:25) on the website of the National Film Board of Canada in HD. You can also download the film and pay what you want (even nothing at all) on the film’s website.

Here’s the trailer:

To watch this video you need to install the Adobe Flash Player.

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass [Rube Goldberg Machine version] by OK Go on YouTube.

The most awesome music video ever!

There’s also a making of and an article on Wikipedia: Second music video: Rube Goldberg Machine

To watch this video you need to install the Adobe Flash Player.

To watch this video you need to install the Adobe Flash Player.

To watch this video you need to install the Adobe Flash Player.

To watch this video you need to install the Adobe Flash Player.

Making of TTSP #1 – OK Go, Making of TTSP #2 – OK Go, Making of TTSP #3 – OK Go, and Making of TTSP #4 – OK Go, by OK Go on YouTube.

Trent Reznor, the front man and leader behind the Nine Inch Nails, started a new project called “How To Destroy Angels” together with his wife Mariqueen Maandig. The third man is Atticus Ross, who was credited as a producer and programmer for the last four NIN albums.

How To Destroy Angels released a self-titled 6-track EP in June 2010. Like the last two NIN albums it was released under a Creative Commons license and can be downloaded from the website.

The music style is not too different from what Nine Inch Nails were doing the last years. If you like them you’ll probably like HTDA.

Besides the free 320 kbps MP3 version, you can choose to buy a lossless (FLAC/ALAC) version vor $2.00 USD. Included is the music video for “The Space In Between” in 1080p and 480p video quality.

Watch the music video on vimeo:

How To Destroy Angels: The Space in Between [HD] from How To Destroy Angels on Vimeo.

The film “The Social Network” is about the founding of Facebook and will be released on the October 1, 2010. The director David Fincher also directed the music video of “Only” by Nine Inch Nails in 2005. Therefore it may not be too surprising that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails got to write the score.

Five tracks of the score are now available as free downloads from the website of The Null Corporation, which is the label that also released the two NIN albums “Ghosts I-IV”, “The Slip” and the How To Destroy Angels EP.

The full 19 tracks are available as CD ($8.00 USD), HD Blu-ray Audio ($20.00 USD), and Vinyl ($25.00 USD).

Watch the trailer:

To watch this video you need to install the Adobe Flash Player.

The Social Network Official Trailer -In theatres Oct 1 2010 by SonyPictures on YouTube.

Professor Kliq - MovementsU.S.-based 24 year old Professor Kliq produces music somewhere between Readiohead, Fatboy Slim and The Prodigy. He is currently studying music at the Columbia College in Chicago and describes his style as something between Big-Beat, Ambient and Trip-Hop. All his music is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA.

You can pre-listen and download all his music from his website.

Listen to my favorite track “Ode To Charles” from the album “Guns Blazin'”:

[audio:|title=Ode To Charles|artist=Professor Kliq]


The Kyoto Connection - No Headphones Required

Here’s another cool band releasing their music under Creative Commons licenses.

The Kyoto Connection is based in Argentina and released their sixth album “No Headphones Required” in July 2010. It contains eleven songs in 80s style synthpop. Each of their albums is available under CC-BY-NC-ND from the Internet Archive which hosts a lot of CC licensed music. The album is pretty awesome. You should check it out. I really can’t stop listening to it.

Here are my two favorite tracks:

  • The Kyoto Connection – Glorious Love Song
    [audio:|title=Glorious Love Song|artist=The Kyoto Connection]
  • The Kyoto Connection – H.E.A.T.
    [audio:|title=H.E.A.T.|artist=The Kyoto Connection]

All albums can be downloaded from the band’s website.


I’ve made all my Creative Commons licensed songs available as FLAC files because I believe that lossless audio is the future and we should start using it as soon as possible. The files are provided through my profile on SoundCloud. Links to the FLAC file of each song are also available on the downloads page.

If you’re not the audiophile kind of guy this might bore for you. Nevertheless, it’s worth thinking about it.

FLAC stands for “Free Lossless Audio Codec” and that’s what it is. It’s a compressed audio format that can be decompressed to the original audio without loosing any bit of quality. Audio formats like MP3 and AAC (M4A) on the other hand do lossy compression. Even if you might think that they sound very good, they don’t sound as good as a CD does. FLAC however sounds exactly like a CD.

The downside is that FLAC files are larger. Lossy compressed audio files are relatively small. Depending on their compression they have 1–2,5 MB per second (128–320 kbit/s). FLAC on the other hand has 4–8 MB per second. That means that it takes 2–3 times as much space as MP3 files. However, they have exactly the same quality as uncompressed WAV files and these have enormous 10 MB per second.

FLAC compresses your audio without any loss of quality. That makes it so cool. Sadly many mobile audio players don’t support FLAC yet. But your computer most likely does.

You should keep in mind that once you use lossy compression and don’t keep the original, the original quality will be gone forever. You’ll always be stuck with the lossy sound. Indeed you could convert MP3 to FLAC. But that would be like scaling a 5 megapixel picture to 10 megapixel. It won’t gain any quality. So you might want to think about starting to use lossless compression today or in the near future. The good thing is that once you use lossless compression you can convert it to any other lossless format without loosing quality, be it Apple Lossless, Real Audio Lossless, or Windows Media Audio Lossless.

And let’s be honest. Current digital audio players have 16 to 64 GB of memory. And they grow continuously. Today’s average hard drive has a size of 1500 GB. That’s 178 days of lossless audio. Who the hell should listen to over 4000 CDs? Your audio player will have the same capacity in about 10 years and probably 300 GB in five years. By then you won’t care about the size. But you won’t get back what you already lost.